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Audio: Stand-off between Irish air traffic controller and pilot


British Airways

British Airways

British Airways

A recording of a stand-off between an Irish air traffic controller and a pilot has been posted online.

The testy exchange occurred on Christmas Eve at Dublin airport as a British Airways flight, referred to as Speedbird 845, was on the runway and prepared for takeoff.

When a Dublin air traffic controller (ATC) asked the pilot to clear the runway, he said he was “just waiting on the cabin to be ready”.

“Speedbird 845 there’s traffic behind you waiting to depart, if you’re not ready I’m going to bring you onto the runway to vacate on 34,” the female air traffic controller said.

“OK, um, just to the point of order, we’re ready, just waiting on the cabin to be ready, it takes about two minutes from the time we were talking to you just before,” the pilot replied.

  ATC: “OK you need to enter runway 28 please, turn right onto runway 34 to vacate.”

Pilot: “Yep we’ve just got a phonecall standby, and Speedbird 845, we are actually ready.”

ATC: “And for future reference Speedbird 845, err, I suggest you advise the, err, ground controller that you are unable to take departure yet and you shouldn’t really be taxiing out to E1 when you’re not ready for departure because there is traffic behind you, waiting, that is ready.”

Pilot: “Speedbird 845, we’re just doing the checks whilst err, whilst you keep talking over us standby.”

ATC: “OK, negative! Turn right please onto runway 34, that’s the third time I’ve asked you to vacate onto runway 34. If you’re not ready, turn right onto runway 34.”

Pilot: “Madam, we are fully ready. We’re just trying to complete the checklists, but, er, you just keep interrupting our checks. Standby.”

ATC:  “Negative! Turn right onto runway 34, I’ve asked you three times now! Turn right to vacate onto runway 34.”

The recording then broke off to speak to other aircraft, but then it resumes for another testy exchange again.

ATC: “Except when I instruct you three times to vacate because there is traffic behind you.”

Pilot: “Speedbird 845 roger, what would you like us to do now ma’am?”

ATC: “As I said, I’ll let you depart, winds 250 degrees, 17 knots. Runway 28 cleared off.”

Pilot: “Cleared takeoff Speedbird 845.”

And with that, the aircraft departed Dublin Airport.

In a statement, British Airways have said: “This is an edited segment of a conversation. Our flight crew have great respect for the professionalism of air traffic controllers and the work that they do. Safety is always our top priority.”

Online Editors